University of Houston Libraries stands in opposition to the racism and systemic injustices that shape the lives of Black people in the United States. Black lives matter. We grieve the death of George Floyd, who belonged to the Third Ward and Screwed Up Click communities that we have been honored to work with in building the UH Houston Hip Hop Research Collection. We grieve for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others lost to racist and police-inflicted violence. We share in the sorrow and anger of our community and stand in solidarity with protests against police brutality. This statement affirms our commitment to equity, inclusion, diversity, and anti-racist practices and our pledge to use our skills and resources to advance the sharing and production of knowledge for racial justice.
University of Houston Libraries employs a number of students in various departments. While library facilities remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to recognize and celebrate the work of a few of our outstanding students employed during the spring 2020 semester who have contributed to the Libraries’ mission of advancing student success, knowledge creation and preservation, and globally competitive research.
As a Learning Commons studio technician, Lopez records, mixes, and masters songs, produces instrumentals, and creates arrangements. Lopez serves as president of the new and upcoming music organization on campus, Astro Music Foundation.
“The creation and development of Astro Music Foundation is currently one of my biggest projects. After working with various artists and expanding my network since I first started my journey in the music industry, I brought my entire network together to create AMF and from that I plan on creating one of the greatest record labels the city of Houston has ever seen. Some of my biggest career goals for 2020 include getting a gold or platinum plaque and working in the music business full time.”
Mathematics – Option in Mathematical Finance; Minor: Economics
In her role in Special Collections, Nafaryeh files documentation of artifact collection data, trains other student workers, pulls and re-shelves archival material and books within closed stacks, and takes care of front desk duties.
“This is my first job as a student worker and I couldn’t ask for a better one. I’ve gained self-confidence, people skills, and leadership abilities.”
Minor: Quantitative Social Sciences
Palomares works in Special Collections with archivist Julie Grob, assisting with projects related to the DJ Screw Hip Hop collection, cleaning vinyl records, or boxing rare and special books that are in delicate conditions.
“Working with Julie and the rare materials at Special Collections has shown me how lucky we are as UH students to have such materials available to us. I’ve learned to take advantage of all the resources that are available to me. As for career goals, I wish to continue with my education in graduate school, either focusing on clinical psychology or cognitive neuroscience. My ultimate career goal would be to work at a research center or hospital, to continue the advancement of our understanding of the human brain.”
Krista Renée Pape
Soprano Master of Music, Vocal Performance and Pedagogy
Some of Pape’s duties at the Music Library include recovering old books through reconstruction, repair, and sewing, maintaining study and work spaces, and creating fun and interactive displays that help patrons learn and get to know library collections.
“I’ve worked for the library for two years. My favorite part of the job is sewing new scores before placing them on the shelves for the patrons to peruse. It’s a sneak peek at new product, while also holding the power to the literal binding and spine of the book. It’s like doing book surgery!”
Interim dean of University of Houston Libraries Marilyn Myers is pleased to announce promotions in rank for the following librarians, effective September 1, 2020:
- Veronica Arellano Douglas, instruction coordinator, Liaison Services
- Wenli Gao, data services librarian, Liaison Services
- Melody Karle, resource description and management coordinator, Metadata and Digitization Services
- Christian Kelleher, head of Special Collections
- Amanda Watson, director of the O’Quinn Law Library
- Andrew Weidner, digital operations coordinator, Metadata and Digitization Services
- Claude Willan, director of digital humanities services, Digital Research Services
- Nora Dethloff, head of Research Materials Procurement
University of Houston student employees play a vital role in the successful operation of the University Libraries. Employed by virtually every department, these student employees staff the Libraries’ circulation desks, digitize unique and rare materials from Special Collections, and make outstanding contributions to the Libraries’ mission to “advance student success, knowledge creation and preservation, and globally competitive research.”
As the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic came into sharp focus, the University of Houston moved classes online. Shortly thereafter, campus facilities, including the Libraries, closed, moving all services online. To keep our typically on-site student staff gainfully employed along with adding to the strength of our online collections, members of the Libraries’ Special Collections department and Metadata and Digitization Services department’s Digitization Unit began to plan for remote work opportunities.
Two projects, both related to the transcription of archival audiovisual materials, were ideal for remote work. The first project addresses the hundreds of digitized archival films and videos on the Libraries’ Audio/Video Repository. Though well-described, these videos lacked closed captioning, making them inaccessible to deaf and hard of hearing researchers. The second project, utilizing the expertise of bilingual student employees, will see the creation of searchable transcripts for a collection of oral history recordings documenting the fight for bilingual education legislation in Texas.
Within a week of campus closure, project managers developed training materials, conducted a small pilot project, and began working with 25 students from six units across the Libraries. As of this writing, five weeks into the project, students have completed captions for all of the This Is Our Home documentary interview collection, chronicling Houston’s Riverside neighborhood. These closed captioned videos will soon be available online.
We are thrilled with the success of this project and look forward to providing increased access to hundreds more of the Libraries’ resources in the coming months.
Thanks to Emily Vinson for contributing this story.
Dorothy Zayatz Baker and Lawrence J. Baker were inspired to give to UH Libraries.
My husband and I believe that the library is the soul of the university. A university’s library serves every department, every professor, and every student—from the first-semester freshmen to the doctoral candidates. This is why we choose to support the University of Houston Libraries.
Throughout my career at the University of Houston I benefited enormously from the team of student workers assigned to a wide range of library departments, from interlibrary loan and reserves to tech support. They were smart, skilled, and always eager to help—a joy to work with. What is more, their choice to work on campus at the academic center of the university speaks to their commitment to their studies and their school.
To reward these fine students my husband and I created the Dorothy Z. Baker Endowment for Academic Excellence, which provides an annual scholarship for a library student worker who excels in the classroom and in their work in the library. This endowment is both professional and personal for me. Of course, I wanted to express my gratitude to the library student workers who helped me so often in my research projects.
Also, the award is in remembrance of my own introduction to academic life. I came from a modest family with no chance of attending college without a scholarship, so I was grateful beyond all measure to receive a generous award from my undergraduate college—with one of the conditions being an on-campus job. After a semester of washing dishes in the dining hall, I could not believe my good fortune when I was offered a job in the library, a place that quickly became my academic home. There I was surrounded by books, crossed paths with my professors, and truly began my academic career. I see myself in today’s University of Houston Library undergraduate student workers, and I want to encourage them just as I was encouraged.
Dorothy Zayatz Baker is Professor Emerita of the Department of English at the University of Houston. During her career at the university, she published five books and many articles on poetry, Early American Literature, and literary theory.
Lawrence J. Baker holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics and enjoyed a thirty-year career at ExxonMobil, largely in upstream research.
An opportunity is available for University of Houston faculty to apply for a grant for the creation and implementation of open educational resources (OER). OER are teaching, learning, or research resources that are in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits the free use, adaptation, and redistribution of the resource by any person.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) OER Grant Program is a competitive program that provides grants to selected individual or teams of faculty at Texas public institutions of higher education to adopt, modify, redesign, or develop courses using only OER. The THECB expects to award two categories of grant awards under this request for application:
- Development Grants: A maximum of $25,000 to faculty or teams of faculty to develop new or substantially improve existing OER for one or more high-enrollment Texas Core Curriculum (TCC) courses, focused on TCC courses that account for the majority of credits transferred among institutions. These grants should be matched with contributions from the institution or institutions (contributions can be in-kind).
- Implementation Grants: A maximum of $5,000 to faculty or teams of faculty to support the substantial redesign of one or more TCC courses to incorporate OER. Contingent upon the amount of appropriation available, the THECB expects to award approximately five to six Development Grants and 20 to 25 Implementation Grants for the biennium ending August 31, 2021.
Applications must be submitted on or before June 15, 2020.
Santi Thompson, head of Digital Research Services at University of Houston Libraries, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Eva Digital Research Endowed Library Professorship. The appointment enables UH Libraries to expand its services in the emerging areas of digital research, data preservation and accessibility, and scholarly communication.
In his role at UH Libraries, Thompson develops policies and workflows for the digital components of scholarly communications, including digital research support and digital repositories. Thompson is integral in positioning UH Libraries to support research productivity of the University, as a leader in advancing the Libraries’ strategic initiatives and as a significant contributor to the development of research support services. Under his direction and with support from the UH Division of Research and Office of the Provost, UH Libraries launched the Digital Research Commons (DRC) in 2018, a facility dedicated to the production of digital research projects and instruction on digital research methodologies. Thompson has been instrumental in the creation of the Libraries’ digital collection development policy and in the development of the Libraries’ future digital asset management system. He was also involved in the development of a digital preservation policy and the selection of a digital preservation tool; and collaborated with several Libraries departments on the Cougar Research Open Access Repositories (Cougar ROAR).
Thompson has authored and produced numerous peer-reviewed publications and presentations and has been invited to present his work at international venues. He has represented the profession and the University through leadership roles with the Digital Library Federation (DLF), the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), and the Texas Digital Library (TDL). In 2018-2019 he served as an inaugural DLF Futures Fellow. He is the principal investigator for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-funded “Digital Content Reuse Assessment Framework Toolkit (D-CRAFT)” grant project and the co-principal investigator for the IMLS-funded “Bridge2Hyku Toolkit: Developing Migration Strategies for Hyku.” He previously served as the principal investigator for the IMLS-funded “Developing a Framework for Measuring Reuse of Digital Objects.”
“Mr. Thompson continues to develop and lead library services that have boundary-spanning and culture-shifting implications for UH Libraries,” said Marilyn Myers, interim dean of UH Libraries. “He represents the type of leader a successful research library requires and a career model for colleagues seeking advanced status in the profession.”
University of Houston Libraries is pleased to announce that it has received a $348,751 grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Program to support the Gulf Coast LGBT Radio and Television Digitization and Access Project. The grant will allow for the creation of detailed archival finding aids, digitization, transcription, description, online publication, and an online exhibit documenting over thirty years of Houston-area radio and television history created for and by local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans communities.
Four series — After Hours, Lesbian & Gay Voices, Wilde ‘n’ Stein, and TV Montrose — are included in the project, totaling over 5,000 hours of content not heard or seen publicly since its initial broadcast decades ago. The recordings are currently inaccessible to researchers, and due to fragile audiovisual tape formats, are at significant risk of loss due to deterioration.
The unique audio and video recordings are drawn from UH Libraries Special Collections and through a partnership with the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History, Inc. (GCAM)
Judy Reeves of GCAM, the project’s primary partner, said that “On September 6, 1987, Jimmy Carper, a gay activist/volunteer in Houston, TX popped a cassette into the recorder and taped the inaugural broadcast of a show called After Hours on KPFT 90.1 FM because he realized it was groundbreaking for the local GLBT community. He recorded the show for nearly 30 years until his death in 2014. He had no idea that the tapes would be a significant part of his and the communities’ vast history. We are grateful to Jimmy Carper and to UH for having the foresight to preserve, collate and make available the thousands of hours of GLBT history.”
Whitney Cox, lecturer at Rowan University and member of the project’s advisory board, said “I’m thrilled that this will not only preserve some of the key pieces of Houston’s queer history, but that it’ll make them accessible to so many people.”
The project will be managed by Emily Vinson, audiovisual archivist, and Bethany Scott, coordinator of digital projects. Grant funds will allow for the hiring of three project staff members and is slated for completion in 2023.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.
Thanks to Emily Vinson and Bethany Scott for contributing this story.
Effective today, UH Libraries Liaison Services is closed to the public and all members are working remotely until further notice to help slow community spread of COVID19.
Schedule of availability: Generally, we will be working the same service hours as normal, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Individuals will likely have flexible schedules that vary slightly from this, but each will manage their own schedule to accommodate consultations and instruction, etc.
LS Services, offered remotely:
- Reference, curricular/IL, and research consultations, via email, Skype for Business, phone
- Online learning
- Research Services
- Open workshops have concluded for the semester; workshop slides and materials are available via LibGuides.
- Some software are free, like Tableau, or is available through the virtual desktop, like ArcMap, and RStudio, and our team can provide support virtually.
- Collections Services
- We continue to provide support in finding and accessing library and OER materials for research and curriculum.
- OER Services
- Management of ATIP program
- OER & ATIP training and consultations via Skype for Business, etc.
- Access to OER and library e-resources
- Outreach Services
- Liaisons will reach out to campus partners and faculty to advise of services.
UPDATE March 17, 2020: We are postponing the remainder of this semester’s Digital Research Commons activities until further notice. This applies to all scheduled events as well as DRC open hours. We will continue to monitor COVID19 developments and adjust our service and program offerings accordingly.
University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons will host several events during the spring 2020 semester, including a workshop on digital project management, scholarly publishing clinics, and a text mining series.
Text Mining Lecture I: Algorithmic Thinking: How to do Literary Theory with Statistics
Tuesday, March 17, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Claude Willan, University Libraries
The recent, extended contretemps that began with Nan Da’s article in Critical Inquiry and spilled over onto social media and a panoply of journals drew combatants from opposite sides of worrisome trends in the literary academy. Among the more alarming was how scanty a vocabulary the scholars arguing with one another about the validity of what Da termed “computational literary studies” held in common. In this talk, I offer one such common vocabulary.
At their best, both groups laid (or lay) claim to a preoccupation with how to apprehend aesthetic qualities of a text under the aegis of a more or less attenuated formalism. I connect the priorities of literary digital humanists to those of their skeptics by considering operations like topic modeling as heuristic devices with an uncanny resemblance to literary-theoretical schemas of the early- and mid- 20th century, using Tristram Shandy as a workbench and test bed.
All are welcome to this talk, which is intended for seasoned digital humanists and newcomers to the field alike, as well as anyone interested in text mining, digital humanities, literary theory, and eighteenth-century literature.
Scholarly Publishing Clinics
Fridays beginning March 20 through May 8, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Taylor Davis-Van Atta, University Libraries
Have questions about the scholarly publishing process? Bring them to the Digital Research Commons for a friendly consultation. Topics might include but are not limited to:
- The rights you have over your journal articles, book chapters, and monographs, and strategies for retaining those rights
- Making your publications available open access – the free, legal, and safe way
- Use of your previously published materials in your thesis or dissertation
- Understanding an agreement with your publisher and how to negotiate to obtain the desired rights for publications
Digital Project Management Workshop: How to Keep Your Head above Water during a Digital Project
Monday, March 23, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Dr. Kristina Neumann, CLASS and Dr. Peggy Lindner, College of Technology
We will discuss how to build and manage an evolving project and team, as well as keep communication open between the humanities and STEM. Attendees should be prepared to brainstorm with others through several guided exercises.
Text Mining Workshop I
Tuesday, March 24, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Claude Willan
An introductory level workshop to text mining. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptops.
Text Mining Workshop II
Tuesday, March 31, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Claude Willan
An intermediate level workshop to text mining. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptops.
Text Mining Lecture II: Data Acquisition and Analysis in the Study of Digital News in Africa
Thursday, April 2, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Dani Madrid-Morales, CLASS
Digital media, from blogs to newspaper websites, are fast becoming the preferred source of news in most African countries. However, very few resources are available to systematically collect and analyze content from these news sources on the continent. This session will discuss some of the epistemological issues associated with the lack of full-text databases that include African digital media, and introduce an alternative workflow that uses open source resources to acquire and analyze online news text data.
Text Mining Colloquium
Thursday, April 9, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Claude Willan
The cluster of text mining events concludes with a colloquium. Four to six presenters will talk briefly about their work before a general and informal conversation brings presenters together with a moderator and audience members. If you have a text-mining project underway, then we would like to hear from you. Ideally, we are looking for 7-8 minute presentations on works-in-progress that you are eager to share and talk about. Please send a brief description (no more than 150 words) to Dr. Claude Willan by March 29th.